Bontempelli shrugs off weather to inspire Bulldogs’ win on road

The rain bucketed down in the second stanza and the Dogs continued to thrive, Schache converting his second after a fine mark and Roarke Smith wheeling around on his trusty left for his maiden AFL goal.

The Bulldogs turned their 12-point quarter-time buffer into a 15-point lead when Dixon’s shot after the half-time siren struck the post.

The black cloud belatedly floated away from the city in the third term and suddenly, but only briefly, Port started playing and thinking more clearly, closing to within two points when Connor Rozee converted a free.

But a costly turnover from Tom Clurey in defence resulted in a goal to Macrae, the first of three unanswered majors in four minutes to the Dogs who moved ahead by 20 points.

Port needed a big final term but a horrible close-range miss from Steven Motlop early in the fourth, and a pair of goals in reply to Patrick Lipinski and Tory Dickson, again thanks to a Power error, rubberstamped one of the Dogs’ most memorable recent triumphs.

The Bont show
‘‘He’s playing with a dry footy while everyone else is using a wet one.’’

‘‘Everything else is going in slow-motion around him.’’

‘‘It’s like watching a grown man play against under-12s.’’

Bomtempelli’s playing with a dry footy while everyone else is using a wet one.

The superlatives were dished out thick and fast for Bontempelli and rightly so after his barnstorming opening term, which laid the foundation for the Bulldogs’ impressive victory.

Bontempelli pieced together a wet-weather masterclass reminiscent of Jason Akermanis or Jimmy Bartel at their vintage best, racking up more clearances (six) than Port’s entire team (five) in the opening term, while absolutely monstering Ollie Wines at the stoppages with 11 contested possessions.

Port pressure
There will be some nervous Power players this week after their surprise defeat, which came hours after several of their players starred for Port’s reserves in the SANFL.

Tom Rockliff, back from a hamstring injury, will surely slot straight back into the Power’s line-up for next Saturday’s Showdown against Adelaide after racking up a whopping 57 disposals, 14 clearances and 12 tackles as the Magpies touched up North Adelaide.

Veteran Justin Westhoff, out of favour but always a match-up nightmare for the Crows in Showdowns, nailed three goals to go with 37 touches, nine marks and eight inside 50s while Sam Powell-Pepper, a player seemingly readymade for the treacherous conditions the Power faced on Saturday night against the Bulldogs, returned to form with 33 possessions in the SANFL.

PORT ADELAIDE 1.2 2.5 5.8 5.11 (41)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 3.2 5.2 8.3 10.6 (66)

Port Adelaide: Dixon 2, R.Gray, Ladhams, Rozee Western Bulldogs: Schache 3, Lipinski 2, Dickson 2, Suckling, R.Smith, Macrae

BEST Port Adelaide: Byrne-Jones, Lycett, Boak, Hartlett, Rozee, R. Gray. Western Bulldogs: Bontempelli, Macrae, Dunkley, B. Smith, Schache, Lipinski.
Umpires: Dalgleish, Fleer, Mitchell
Official crowd: 25,623 at Adelaide Oval

VOTES Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs) 8 Jack Macrae (Western Bulldogs) 8 Josh Dunkley (Western Bulldogs) 8 Darcy Byrne-Jones (Port Adelaide) 7 Bailey Smith (Western Bulldogs) 7

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